Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Oh My Gosh - August 2017!

Summer is always a busy time for me, but August is, by far, the busiest month of the year!

By the time August rolls around we've been fairly busy because of the 4th of July celebrations and other things we've been doing to our yard or with our business. As July starts to calm down August shows up. It starts off nice and mellow, but soon we find ourselves in the middle of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. We live about eight miles south of Sturgis. We are affected by the traffic and also have our very own "regulars" at our bar for that week. Our local "regulars" mostly stay home or go play elsewhere that week of August, so it's nice to have people still coming into our business.

This year, the rally was just about perfect, in my opinion. It was the 77th rally, so it's what they call an off year. More people tend to come for the years that end in a zero or a five. I think it really makes a difference to a lot of the vendors and businesses in Sturgis and surrounding areas, but our traffic remains about the same from year to year. About the only difference we notice between high and low attendance years are the amount of traffic between us and the local grocery store.

Then, right after the rally is over we find ourselves at the Central State's Fair. Lots of rides, fair food, chickens to gawk at, and rabbits to wish we could hold, snuggle and pet. Plus, they have a petting zoo filled with my favorite - goats! We bought food and fed the animals this year. It was SO MUCH fun! They even had a baby camel we could love on. He/she was taller than me without standing on her back legs, but absolutely adorable and softer than I'd have imagined. Since we had food we were some of the animal's favorites in the pen. It didn't take long before I found myself surrounded and shortly after that I found myself looking up to one of the goats who had put her front legs up on my shoulders to try to get to my food. She was a good seven foot tall while standing on her hind legs. I was loving it but my hubby is my protector, so it didn't last long after he saw what was going on. I'm sure he thought I was in danger of being mauled, but I didn't care. I'd let them eat me just so I could be closer to them. Yes, I'm a weirdo who truly LOVES goats. Even though goats are pushy, loud, obnoxious and can be downright annoying, furry bits of destruction, I still love them.

This year me and my three girls entered stuff into the fair. I posted about it on Facebook the other day but am making a blog post about it so I can share pictures with everyone.

As most of you know, I have three daughters who range in age from seventeen to seven. Between the four of us, we entered four different divisions; horticulture, jellies, jams, and crochet. My oldest only entered one item in horticulture so I will start with her and the rest of our horticulture entries.

Just an added note: Participation ribbons don't garner a cash prize. 3rd place ribbons net a $1 cash prize. 2nd place ribbons give a $2 prize and 3rd place ribbons bring in $3.

She entered chichicquelite berries. We came across this plant three or four years ago and decided to try them out in our garden. We've planted them every year since and have never gotten a yield large enough to do anything with them. This year was the same outcome - we really need to plant more every year. So, instead of doing nothing with them, other than admiring them, we decided to enter them in the horticulture division for the fair. She took home a second place ribbon for her berries.

My youngest was going to enter four different items - cucumbers, tomatoes, grapes, and zucchini. Only the zucchini made the fifteen minute drive from our house to the fair grounds. You have to have three of certain items to enter and she only had one cherry tomato (I'd already told her this, but she didn't listen.) The cucumbers? Well, one of them got broken during the drive, so they weren't fit to enter, and she'd managed to fall asleep in the back seat of the car and then sit on and squish the grapes during that fifteen minute ride. So, zucchini it was. She took a third place ribbon for her large, overly ripe zucchini.

My middle daughter didn't break or squish any of her entries, so she had four things to enter. She had Yukon Gold potatoes that took a third place ribbon.

She entered a zucchini, not nearly as big as her sister's and it took a third place ribbon.

She also entered into the crochet division with me. She'd made a headband with a matching wristband and entered them. She got participation ribbons for both of them. They entered them separately, but displayed them together. I don't particularly like to put pictures of my children online and the only photo I have of the items has my daughter photo bombing the picture. It made everything out of focus and I'm going to crop her out, so forgive me for the less than good picture.

As I said, I also entered the crochet division with four different items. I entered a snowflake afghan and received a participation ribbon for it. It's the one piece I am probably the most proud of, but I've had it a while and it's been through the wash a few times. The judges took the time to write on all of the entry cards or add a little note on every item as to why they placed like they did. This one didn't do well because the tension was off. It could have been off from the beginning, but I'm sure the multiple trips through the washer and dryer helped that along. It's still one of my favorite pieces.

I also entered a piece I finished early this summer. It too has been through the wash a couple of times because I wear it. Still, it's a piece I'm proud of. I particularly like the colors and how soft it became after washing it. However, it only received a participation ribbon as well because it looked used. Please keep in mind, I'm not complaining about my participation ribbons or the reasons I didn't place higher on these two items. I'm only stating the reasons and am actually agreeing with them. So, I'm perfectly happy with the way I placed.

The last two pieces I entered took first place ribbons! I truly was not expecting that. The gray hooded vest isn't displayed all that great, but it's another one I made some time ago and something I wear quite frequently. I also made a matching one for my oldest daughter. She also wears hers. To me that's the best reward for the items I make. If I can get a picky teenager to wear them they can't be too bad.  The other item is a tank top I finished only a few weeks ago. I actually wore it once and have never washed it. I love the top, but it doesn't flatter me at all, so I will be giving it away soon. However, the tank top also won me a $25 gift certificate from one of the sponsors! I didn't even know they did that AND they paid it to me in cash. As soon as we picked up our items this afternoon we went to a fruit stand and spent it on melons and pears. 

Finally, I entered the jelly division and the jam division with chokecherry jelly and thimbleberry/raspberry jam. The chokecherry jelly didn't place because I didn't have the correct headspace, but the jam took a first place ribbon.

Next up on my August to do list:  SCHOOL!